ALASKA ROAD TRIP
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Although this guide complements almost any trip to Alaska this unit was written specifically with road trip visitors to northern and south central Alaska in mind. It’s great for our Alaska Grand Circle Road trip as well as for a pre or post cruise trip into the interior of the state. Those who are doing a cruise only trip will also benefit, but I am working on a specific cruise only unit that will be coming soon and feature activities in popular cruise ports.
To me Alaska is the North American equivalent to an African Safari. The breathtaking scenery, plethora of wildlife, and unique culture and history make this a fascinating place to learn about and visit. This unit is perfect for an adventurous family that loves the outdoors. There are plenty of adventures to be had either with a professional guide or on your own. While Alaska can be expensive in summer consider visiting in shoulder season for fewer crowds and better deals. We always recommend seeing state parks over national parks in the summer months as the crowds can detract from the experience and harm the natural areas. We also include some winter options for those looking to do something incredibly unique.
The academic focus on this trip is more scientific than literary. I think it would pair well with almost any earth science curriculum, but I offer some specific ideas below. We also make some suggestions for historical literature and nature study. Again, I am very laid back when my kids do a travelschooling unit. I give them the objectives and provide a wide array of materials. All I require is that they read enough to meet the objectives. You can follow our own travelschooling Alaska adventure on our blog as we move to Alaska. I also have them read several of the literature books and keep a daily journal. Satisfaction of the objectives is based on age and ability—you know your child best.
Use the resources below to plan your own travelschooling adventure or contact Christopher Travel to help you. Do not attempt to do and see everything listed below. We are spending a year in Alaska and I still feel like we won't have time to see and do everything so pace yourselves and allow yourself to be immersed in a few choice locations and activities so you can really enjoy and learn. Alaska also has a very distinct culture different from the lower 48 so give yourself time to talk to the locals. Visit a walmart and discuss similarities and differences. Look at the houses and talk about how the architecture is geared towards the climate. Take time for these types of simple but very important observations to help your children learn more about the Alaskan way of life-- in the end this exercise will help them learn more about their own way of life.
If you are overwhelmed with the planning Christopher Travel can help. We have pre-planned, semi-custom and custom itineraries. We are happy to help you create the perfect travelschooling itinerary for your family in your budget whether it’s a road trip, pre-planned tour, cruise or a combination. We waive our planning fee for trips that include a cruise or pre-planned tour component. Visit our main travel page: christopher.travel.
Remember Alaska is true wilderness. Always check weather conditions and consult with park rangers and/or locals before heading out alone to ensure you are well prepared. Watch your children!
The resources and ideas on this page come from our own experiences, client feedback, and extensive research. We welcome your input to keep this page fresh and up to date. firstname.lastname@example.org
- Explain the life cycle of salmon.
- Identify the five species of Alaska Pacific Salmon.
- Explain what a glacier is and how it forms.
- Explain the Northern Lights.
- Research global warming and outline arguments for and against.
- Identify major landforms and cities of Alaska on a map.
- Older students: Research one major industry of Alaska and explain it’s impact on the state (fishing, tourism, oil etc.)
- Younger students: Research a wild Alaska species (bears, wolverines, martin, caribou)
- Discuss the native populations of Alaska and how they adapted and thrived in the challenging climate.
In addition to these primary academic objectives also include some outdoor skills:
- Discuss bear safety
- Catch a fish
- Build a fire
Values to work on: self-reliance, survival, respect for the environment
South Central Region
Activities to Enjoy:
- Visit a sled dog kennel
- Whale Watching
- Glacier Cruises
- Glacier Trekking
- Bear viewing
- Alaska Railroad
- Dog sledding
- Cross country skiing
- Ice skating
- Ice fishing
- Fat wheel biking
Pre-Planned and Semi-Custom road trip itineraries are available for purchase on our Christopher Travel Road Trips page. Although the pre-planned Alaska itinerary isn't on the website yet it is available. Please send me an email for more information about this or about custom travelschool planning. email@example.com
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For kids who like to cut and paste:
Great for the car and airplane:
Living Books to Read:
- Alaska True Book
- The Bravest Dog Ever
- The Magic School Bus Goes Upstream
- The Salmon Princess
- A King Salmon Journey
- Fish Eyes (a counting book)
- Bristol Bay Summer
- The Bravest Dog Ever
- The Year of Miss Agnes
- Water Sky+
- Look to the North a Wolf Pup Diary
- Sweet Home Alaska
- Gentle Ben
- Julie of the Wolves
Moving Beyond the Page:
(none of these are 100% geared toward the trip, but they do make a good pre or post complement)
- Life Cycles (ages 7-9)
- Animal Adaptations (ages 8-10)
- Complete Earth Science Semester (ages 11-13)
For high school:
- The Call of the Wild
- The Wilderness World of John Muir
- Animal Stories: Encounters with Alaska’s Wildlife
For tracking animals:
Novels to read while fishing (not related to Alaska, but just good reads that feel like they would be fun to read while sitting waiting for the fish to bite):
Homeschool Connections also offers a great class on Dogs which might be a good course if your kids are interested in sled dogs. My daughter loved that course for science one semester
Contact me if you are interested in Semi-Custom or Custom trip planning which includes travelschooling suggestions for curriculum and supplementary reading: firstname.lastname@example.org